What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Israel Says About Democrats’ Future on Israel

 

Democrats don’t have anything resembling fresh blood in their ranks since President Obama was a newcomer. And so, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came onto the scene with a surprise upset win, she was rightly viewed as the next generation of Democratic leadership. Her last job before being elected to Congress? A bartender. And it’s moments like these that it shows:

On “Firing Line,” Ocasio-Cortez flippantly refers to the Israeli “occupation.” When she does, host Margaret Hoover, to her credit, asks her to explain exactly what that means.

“I think what I meant is, like, the settlements that are increasing in these areas, where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes,” she said.

“I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue,” she added with a laugh. “I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these — for me, I just look at things through a human rights lens, and I may not use the right words. I know this is a very intense issue.”

Ocasio-Cortez is a compass for the future of the Democratic party, but it has been clear for a long time that anything resembling sympathy for the Jewish State isn’t on the menu. This was 2012 when Democrats booed the inclusion of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (and God!) to the party’s platform:

As a young progressive protesting the Iraq War in 2008, I got a taste of what the modern Democratic party’s litmus tests are. I was a card-carrying Leftist, in part thanks to my high school, where school trips to Cuba (breaking the embargo) were carried out by a card-carrying Communist teacher, and discussed over the school’s loudspeakers along with the trips to France and Spain. It was common knowledge that Israelis were barbarians, committing massive human rights abuses and operating concentration camps.

Fast forward to my first year of college in a class called “The Politics of Protest” at City College of New York, taught by another extreme progressive. We wrote a massive paper at the end of the semester about a protest movement; my thesis was that the intifada was a valid protest movement. I began reading in depth about Israeli history and the history of the conflict, and thanks to Howard Sachar, I threw my back out in the process, lugging around his comprehensive book on the subject, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time.

It was over the course of that semester that I became disillusioned with not just the Left’s position on Israel, but the Left in general. Every protest I went to, about anything, always involved signs equating Zionism to Nazism. It made me consider the possibility that everything I believed was wrong; and for the most part, it was. At the end of that semester, I turned in a paper with the thesis that Zionism, not the intifada, was the venerable protest movement. To be honest, it was a total stretch; but at that late hour, after thousands of pages of reading, I needed to change my thesis to something related to the conflict and protest. I left with a deserved B- for the class (in my disillusionment, I had basically stopped attending, and I submitted a paper with a completely altered thesis without approval) and decided to steer clear of political activism in my coursework going forward.

This hatred of Israel has become so ingrained on the Left, many don’t even understand what exactly Israel has done wrong, what it has done right, or what has happened at all. And what has Israel done in an attempt to achieve peace?

This is why Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t have a ready answer to a basic question about the region. She has accepted the anti-Israel narrative on the Left as gospel and few on her side have even considered actually learning anything about the conflict; the “occupation” talking points are sufficient.

There are 12 comments.

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  1. Mountie Coolidge
    Mountie
    @Mountie

    Bethany Mandel:

    This hatred of Israel has become so ingrained on the Left, many don’t even understand what exactly Israel has done wrong, what it has done right, or what has happened at all. And what has Israel done in an attempt to achieve peace?

    Zealot: someone who redoubles their efforts long after they forgot what they were fighting against. 

     

    • #1
  2. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    “Well like, my feelings about Israel and Palestine are . . . um . . . which is the one with the Jews? Oh yeah, Israel is like bad and stuff because of like occupation and apartheid and . . . aren’t there some other words I’m supposed to say?”

    • #2
  3. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    This girl is obviously ignorant  about anything outside her own little sphere. We shouldn’t give her a forum to speak about anything other than her district in NY.  

    • #3
  4. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Her bio says she has a degree in economics and international relations. She appears to be ill-schooled on both. 

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    It is not only the attitude toward Israel…the Left and the Democrats are increasingly hostile to Jews.  For example, a survey showed that 20% of Democrats (and Independents) view Jews as “caring only about themselves”, compared with only 12% of Republicans.  32% of Democrats blamed “the Jews” for the financial crisis, compared with 18% of Republicans.

    People I would consider to be outright anti-Semites have been tolerated, associated with, and encouraged by prominent Democrats, ranging from Al Sharpton to Barack Obama’s minister of many years.

    • #5
  6. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Bethany Mandel: Her last job before being elected to Congress? A bartender. And it’s moments like these that it shows

    You’re being unfair to bartenders, and maybe somewhat condescending, or maybe the kiddos keep you from conservations with bartenders much these days.

    Who has more reliable political opinions on Israel:  your average bartender or your average Ph.D in international relations?

    Who has a more grounded understanding of human nature and ability to converse with others with contrary opinions:  average bartender or average professor at Harvard?

    I’m with Buckley on this one.  Truer every year.

    • #6
  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Her bio says she has a degree in economics and international relations. She appears to be ill-schooled on both.

    She just can’t  say what she really believes without destroying her career in Congress.  

    • #7
  8. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Why does she have to have strong opinions about things which she is incredibly ignorant of? Seriously, I am ignorant of entomology so I don’t have strong opinions about bugs. Why can’t she just say that, “the issue of Israel and Palestine is on my reading list?”

    Bethany, your sort of in the same mileau as this lady in terms of age and education. Whats up with her?

    • #8
  9. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Her bio says she has a degree in economics and international relations. She appears to be ill-schooled on both.

    If she hasn’t released her transcripts, it doesn’t count. I wouldn’t believe what anyone claimed to have without academic records.

    • #9
  10. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    If seasoned, chronically reelected Democrats know nothing, understand nothing, and just repeat left wing talking points, why should we expect more from a youngster  looking for spot at the troff. 

    • #10
  11. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    That clip exposed my male chauvinism. I actually feel sorry for that stupid girl. 

    • #11
  12. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    iWe (View Comment):

    That clip exposed my male chauvinism. I actually feel sorry for that stupid girl.

    She has political power. She is as dangerous as a man and we need to think about her as being as dangerous as a man. 

    • #12
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